Chinese authorities authorized the Jewish community in Shanghai to build a mikveh for the first time since World War Two, this after community leaders convinced them that it ‘is not a spa.’
The mikveh was inaugurated last Sunday.
In 2002 some 300 Jews lived in Shanghai, and today they number about 1,500; only two of them are Chinese, with the rest being Jews who had immigrated from all over the world.
“People came to is and asked for a mikveh,” said Chabad Rabbi Shalom Greenberg, who operates the mikveh together with his wife Dina. “Before there were a few women who had to travel all the way to the mikveh in Hong Kong; we had to explain to the Chinese what a mikveh is and convince them that is not a spa.
“The officials inquired as to why we couldn’t use one of Shanghai’s spas, but they eventually understood the need,” he said.